Don't float in productivity limbo
The average employee is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes per day. For an 8 hour day, that’s a lot of time spent doing other things. Everyone needs to have time to relax and work can never be non-stop. But considering the starting point is 2 hours 53 minutes, a small improvement can have a big impact.
Your employees will thank you for it. Czech Republic had the lowest productivity in 2019, but they work long hours! If you waste hours, you’re stuck in a limbo of ‘not doing work, yet still at work and unable to do anything fun’. I say this from experience. Has anyone else ever put off something until the end of the day, only to have to stay late to complete it? Curse those wasted hours!
Give the people what they need
Considering that only 37.5% of time at work is productive, the conditions for productivity are important. Be careful here. any abusive policy is going to backfire with burnout and turnaround. You want to make sure your employees have the right conditions to work and are free distractions. Then you can sit back and let good things happen.
86% of employees prefer to work alone to reach peak productivity. 27% of employees believe working in an open office allows them to maximize productivity. (HubSpot, 2018)
Your perfect space will depend on your team. Some need privacy to get deep, focused work done. Others need an open office for more collaboration and motivation from their teammates. Or both!
Working from home is also an important consideration. A survey found 21.7% didn’t even have a desk! A common investment has been a ‘work from home’ budget, for their team to kit out their home office.
Take care of your employees
Everyone knows the benefits of exercise, but the reality is dramatic. Time management skills increase by 72% with weekday exercise. In fact only 2.5 hours of exercise a week can increase productivity! (goremotely.net, 2021)
Spending money on a subsidized gym membership for your team can actually make you money—if you consider the productivity you get back with well exercised employees. Outside of this promoting healthy living (including exercise and eating well) helps keep it in mind. Employees who eat healthy each day are 25% more likely to perform better at work. (HubSpot, 2017)
Roughly 500 million working days and $500 billion in productivity is lost to workplace stress. (Dynamic Signal, 2020) $1,967 is lost per employee per year to fatigue (goremotely.net, 2021). Combine the two and you can see why taking care of your employees isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s a smart move for your business.
Take a leaf from John Cadbury’s book—the British chocolate manufacturer built an entire village to take care of his employees in a time when the industrial revolution was making children work 16 hour days in horrific and dangerous conditions. High wages and good conditions led to Cadbury’s success, now one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the UK.
This might be an outdated example, but when you consider that the top six most productive countries are in Scandinavia (goremotely.net, 2021), a region famous for its good working conditions, it’s clear that there’s something behind it!
Keep things horizontal and inclusive
No one wants to feel like a cog in a big machine making money for someone else. People are more invested in something they built—which is why involving as many people as you can in the management and direction of your business helps everyone stay motivated.
High employee engagement leads to 17% more productivity (Dynamic Signal, 2020) but despite the obvious benefit, only 1 out of 4 employees believe their suggestions and feedback are taken seriously. (TINYpulse, 2019)
And again it makes sense for your business financially: Engaged teams have 17% higher productivity, 21% greater profitability, and 10% higher customer ratings. (aon.com, 2018)
Productivity benefits aside, having more minds put towards a problem can be a great way to get more ideas. Creative collaboration can help everyone!
Communication is key
Another important factor in reducing stress and improving productivity: good communication. The value here is recognized by most employees, with 78% seeing the need to prioritize communication, and 52% reporting increased stress due to inefficient communication. (Dynamic Signal, 2020)
Streamline your communication and the rest will fall into place. By tracking your email statistics, you’ll be able to spot any inefficiencies in the pipelines. Understanding your busiest periods (when you receive the most emails) allows you to prepare adequately and keep the email overload to a minimum. Reducing the number of emails sent outside of work hours is a great way to reduce stress which is measurable.